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Institutionalising restorative justice for adults in Scotland: An empirical study of criminal justice practitioners’ perspectives

Butler, Siobhan; Maglione, Giuseppe; Buchan, Jamie


Siobhan Butler

Giuseppe Maglione


While in some European and extra-European countries the incorporation of restorative justice into policy frameworks is a dated and widely studied phenomenon, in others it is a more recent and scarcely researched process. The Scottish Government is making renewed efforts to institutionalise restorative justice including the ambitious goal of making adult restorative justice available nationwide by 2023. In this article, we analyse the consequences of these recent attempts, addressing a gap in knowledge on adult restorative justice in Scotland. We gathered views from justice professionals (n = 17), involved in organising and delivering adult restorative justice, on the implementation of the policy and the future of Scottish restorative justice. Findings show that participants support expanding restorative justice services, but are sceptical about the Scottish Government’s approach. They advocate for a coordinated but locally sensitive model of restorative justice development, to some extent challenging the stark opposition between ‘purist’ and ‘maximalist’ approaches to the expansion of restorative justice. These findings generate evidence to critically assess Scottish restorative justice policy and its implementation, while drawing implications for the development of restorative justice across Europe.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 5, 2022
Online Publication Date Jun 20, 2022
Publication Date 2024-02
Deposit Date May 10, 2022
Publicly Available Date Jun 20, 2022
Print ISSN 1748-8958
Electronic ISSN 1748-8966
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 24
Issue 1
Pages 269-290
Keywords Institutionalisation, justice social work, qualitative interviews, restorative justice, Scotland
Public URL


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